Visa Policy as Migration Channel

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1 Visa Policy as Migration Channel produced by the European Migration Network October 2012 Home Affairs

2 Visa Policy as Migration Channel produced by the European Migration Network October 2012 European Migration Network

3 Europe Direct is a service to help you find answers to your questions about the European Union Freephone number (*): (*) Certain mobile telephone operators do not allow access to numbers or these calls may be billed. Cover photo: Shutterstock More information on the European Union is available on the Internet ( Cataloguing data can be found at the end of this publication. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2013 ISBN doi: /80867 European Union, 2013 Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. Printed in Belgium Printed on white chlorine free paper

4 VISA POLICY AS MIGRATION CHANNEL 3 Contents Disclaimer... 5 Explanatory Note... 5 Executive Summary Introduction Definition Methodology EU Visa Policy and Legislation Visa Policy and Practices Facilitating Legal Migration Issuance of visa applications: A Statistical Overview Visa policy and practice Grouping of policy and practice Group A: Member States managing legal migration through visa policy and practice Group B: Member States which use visa policy to facilitate legal migration, but with varying visa practices National type D visas and residence permits being requested in the country of origin (Practice B.1) National type D visas issued in the country of origin and residence permits requested within the Member State (Practice B.2) Group C: Member States who do not use visas to facilitate legal migration Group D: Other visa practices Stages of the Visa Procedure Responsible authorities during the visa procedure Application stage Examination Stage Entry/Exit Procedures Measures undertaken at borders Annulment/Revocation Monitoring exit Right of appeal and judicial review Visa policy and practices for preventing irregular migration Refusal of entry: A Statistical Overview Visa policy and practice to prevent irregular migration Assessment of willingness to return Training of personnel Cooperation and information exchange Other preventive measures Cooperation with third countries: agreements and Case Studies Agreements with third countries Case Studies China: combined approach facilitating legal migration and curbing irregular migration Rationale Measures implemented by Member States Impact of implemented measures... 50

5 4 EMN STUDY SYNTHESIS Nigeria: Preventing Irregular Migration Rationale Measures implemented by Member States Impact of implemented measures Russian Federation: Facilitating Legal Migration Rationale Measures implemented by Member States Impact of implemented measures The effectiveness of Member States approaches Effects of EU Policy and Legislation Visa Challenges and success factors Challenges and success factors for facilitating legal migration Challenges and success factors for preventing irregular migration Conclusions Annex Annex Figures Figure 1: National type D visas issued, (in 1000s) Figure 2: Applications, Issued and Refused national D visas (in 1 000s), Figure 3: National D visas issued by purpose, Figure 4: First permits, EU level, total and by reason (share of total), Figure 5: Third country nationals refused entry at the external borders, by reason, Figure 6: Third country nationals refused entry at the external borders by total and by Member State, Figure 7: Third country nationals refused entry at the external borders, by reason (share of total) and by Member State, Tables Table 1: National Visa Practices for admission of third country nationals ( primary, X secondary practice) Table 2: National type D visas which constitute a residence title (Practice A) Table 3: National type D visas and residence permit to be requested in country of origin (Practice B.1) Table 4: National type D visas in country of origin, residence permit in country of destination (Practice B.2) Table 5: Residence permit in country of origin (Practice C) Table 6: Other Visa Practices Table 7: Procedures used during the Examination stage Table 8: Cooperation with third countries Table 9: National visa policy approaches and effects in China, Nigeria and the Russian Federation Table A1.1: Selection of third country case studies by Member State Table A2.1: Authorities involved during application, examination and entry/exit... 71

6 VISA POLICY AS MIGRATION CHANNEL 5 Disclaimer This Synthesis Report has been produced by the European Migration Network (EMN), which comprises the European Commission assisted by its service provider (ICF GHK COWI) and EMN National Contact Points (EMN NCPs). This report does not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the European Commission, its Service Provider (ICF GHK COWI) or the EMN NCPs, nor are they bound by its conclusions. Similarly, the European Commission, ICF GHK COWI and the EMN NCPs are in no way responsible for any use made of the information provided. Explanatory Note The 21 EMN National Contact Points who participated in this activity were from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom. 1 It is important to note that the comments of this Report refer to the situation in the above mentioned Member States up to and including and specifically the contributions from their EMN National Contact Points. More detailed information on the topics addressed here may be found in the available National Reports and one is strongly recommended to consult them also. The Member States mentioned above are given in bold when mentioned in the Report, and when reference to Member States is made the reference is to these Member States only. EMN NCPs from other Member States could not, for various reasons, participate on this occasion, but have done for other EMN activities reports. 1 Additionally a National Report from Spain is now available on the EMN Website. A National Report from the Czech Republic will also become available on the EMN Website. 2 Statistics were only provided however for the reference period

7 6 EMN STUDY SYNTHESIS Executive Summary The EMN Study 2011 on Visa Policy as Migration Channel analyses the possible nexus between visa policy and migration management. The study examines the effects of visa policy on the management of migration, both in terms of facilitating legal migration and preventing irregular migration. Moreover, the study generates evidence to support the effectiveness of different strategies to use visa policy to manage migration, including cooperation with third countries particularly concerning facilitation and bilateral/multilateral agreements, and highlighting best practice. In order to identify whether a nexus exists between visa policy and migration management, the study focuses mainly on Member States practices relating to long stay visas (so called national type D visas ) as opposed to short stay visas harmonised in Schengen Member States as part of the Schengen acquis. National type D visas are issued to third country nationals in accordance with national legislation and relate to migration (reasons). Schengen visas (short stay type C visas) are issued by Schengen Member States for envisaged stays of not more than three months in a six month period. The number of national type D visas issued by Member States (Section 2.1) increased from around 2.68 million in 2008 to 2.88 million in 2010 with a wide variation in the reasons (education, employment, family, other) for issuing them between the Member States which tends to be connected with national visa policy in place in the Member States, with some focussing on certain migration reasons. Overall the policy and practices related to the issuing of national type D visas constitute, in all Member States, a first and essential element of migration management (Section 2.2). In most Member States, the issuing of national type D visas is an important part of the admission and immigration process, with a view to long term stay. Significant changes in the national vision and policy relating to national type D visas over time in a number of Member States are attributed to factors such as increases in emigration of nationals to third countries, economic development, changes in foreign policy and accession to the EU. Historical and ethnic ties also play a part. A number of Member States place specific focus on issuing visas for the purpose of work, in several cases, for highly skilled work. When looking at national visa policies and practices in place, four groups of Member States can be broadly identified. The first group consists of Member States in which national visa policy and practices fully reflect overall migration policy, where the national type D visa is issued nearly always as a residence title in itself. A second group relates to Member States which use visas to facilitate legal migration but with varying visa issuing procedures, depending on the type of migration. In these Member States, the national type D visa is usually a prerequisite for obtaining a residence permit, which has to be applied for either in the country of origin or upon arrival in the Member State. Thirdly, a limited group of Member States do not use national type D visas to promote legal

8 VISA POLICY AS MIGRATION CHANNEL 7 migration and hence do not issue any long term visas, or only in exceptional circumstances. These Member States either allow for the residence permit to be obtained directly in the country of origin or to be requested upon arrival. Finally, a number of Member States use alternative practices for issuing national type D visas, depending on the reasons for their issuance. Concerning the various stages in the visa procedure (Section 2.3), the study presents the relevant actors responsible in the Member States at each stage. Most Member States apply similar requirements with regard to documentation during the application stage, with travel documents, proof of sufficient resources and insurance generally required. Other documentary requirements are also in place in Member States depending on the purpose of intended stay (i.e. proof of a sponsor for family reunification). In order to ensure transparent procedures, the possibility of appeal and judicial review is also available, with most Member States allowing applicants to appeal a negative decision. Border guards also play a role in checking the validity of visas presented at a border crossing point. The number of third country nationals refused entry at the border (Section 3.1) has decreased between 2008 and 2010 from around to around , with the proportion of third country nationals refused entry due to having no valid visa or residence permit decreasing from 39% (2009) to 34% (2010). National visa policy, which acts as a form of pre entry procedure to ensure that third country nationals comply with entry requirements, helps to prevent irregular migration (Section 3.2), with Member State missions abroad determining whether a third country national should be granted an entry permit and to prevent the need to terminate an irregular status ex post facto. Member States have introduced a variety of specific measures in their visa issuing procedures to tackle irregular migration which includes the assessment of willingness to return, the training of personnel and cooperation and information exchange with other entities and Member States. With regard to cooperation with third countries, Member States have entered into a number of bilateral agreements with third countries (Section 4.1) which have an effect on their national visa policy. These agreements vary from one Member State to another but focus on aspects such as youth mobility and professional migration including seasonal work and highly qualified work. The study also provides practical examples through case studies (Section 4.2) on China, Nigeria and the Russian Federation with specific measures undertaken by the Member States outlined, including bilateral agreements, memorandums of understanding and programmes/schemes. The study examines the impact of these measures on the facilitation of legal migration and/or the prevention of irregular migration. Many Member States have had to amend their visa policy relating to national type D visas due to the impacts EU policy and legislation (Section 5) have had on visas within the Schengen area. Accession to the Schengen area impacted a number of Member States with possibilities for shaping national visa policy being reduced substantially to cover only the issuing of type D visas. A number of challenges and success factors have been experienced by Member States in relation to national type D visas. Concerning the facilitation of legal migration (Section 6.1), the efficiency of procedures during the application process and treatment of visa applications was considered to be of high importance in

9 8 EMN STUDY SYNTHESIS order to attract third country nationals, with focus placed on speedy procedures as well as cooperation with consulates abroad. For the prevention of irregular migration (Section 6.2), the main challenges identified by Member States concern finding the right balance between facilitating legal migration with national type D visas, while also combating irregular migration including the risk of potential for overstaying. The role of personnel was considered to be important for the success of visa procedures. Challenges identified included the abolition of internal borders in the Schengen zone, falsification and trafficking of visas, lack of guidelines on visa issuance for specific third country regions at risk, improper use of the visa regime for asylum applications, obtaining visas under false pretences and delays in transport carriers belated submission of information to the authorities. The concluding remarks (Section 7) outline the nexus which does seem to exist in a number of Member States between visa and migration policy, with practices not only serving to manage migration, in terms of controlling and facilitating entry and admission, but also to promote legal migration and prevent irregular migration. National visa policy is used in many Member States to facilitate, and in some cases, promote particular types of legal migration, such as economic migration, migration of highly skilled workers and/or from specific third countries. In these cases, visa procedures are geared to simplify the process of entry and admission to the Member State. The form of the nexus differs greatly, however, between the EU Member States. Importantly it appears that all Member States have not applied an overarching principle or theory in the decisions over time on whether or not a migrant from a specific third country who wishes to study, work or be reunited with his/her family is to apply for a national type D visa in the country of origin and/or a residence permit in the country of origin or upon arrival in the Member State. Rather historic or ad hoc considerations seem to have influenced Member States decisions on how best to manage migration. A mosaic of visa and residence permit requirements therefore exists in several EU Member States.

10 VISA POLICY AS MIGRATION CHANNEL 9 1. Introduction The main aim of this EMN study on Visa Policy as Migration Channel was to analyse the possible nexus between visa policy and migration management. The Study firstly aimed to examine the effects of visa policy on the management of migration, both in terms of facilitating legal migration and preventing irregular migration. In addition, the study aimed to generate evidence concerning the effectiveness of different strategies to use visa policy to manage migration, including cooperation with third countries, particularly concerning facilitation and bilateral/multilateral agreements and highlighting best practice, as well as helping to contextualise national policies and practices by providing an overview of policy in this area across the EU. Finally, the Study aimed to explore the effects of EU policy and legislation on national policymaking and practices. In order to identify whether a nexus exists between visa policy and migration management, the Synthesis Report focuses mainly on Member States practices relating to long stay visas (so called national visas ) as opposed to short stay visas harmonised as part of the Schengen acquis. Long stay national visas are issued to third country nationals in accordance with national legislation and relate to migration (reasons). Schengen visas (short stay type C visas) are issued by Schengen Member States for envisaged stays of not more than three months. The use of these visas, and the EU policy associated with them, is relevant due to their impact on Member States national visa policy. This Synthesis Report summarises the key findings from National Reports produced by 21 of the EMN National Contact Points: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom, highlighting the most important aspects and placing them as much as possible within an EU perspective. The findings presented here refer to the situation in the Member States of the participating EMN NCPs during the period from 2004 up to More detailed information on the topics addressed may be found in the available National Reports 3 and it is strongly recommended to also consult these in order to obtain a greater level of detail in relation to the specific situation of each participating Member State. As part of this Introduction, an explanation of the definitions (Section 1.1) used to undertake this study is given next, followed by an overview of the methodology (Section 1.2) used and a brief description of EU visa policy and legislation (Section 1.3). The rest of this Synthesis Report then outlines visa policy and practices facilitating legal migration (Section 2) and preventing irregular migration (Section 3) in the Member States. A description of cooperation with third countries is then given (Section 4) both in relation to agreements in place as well as Member States experience with case studies. The Synthesis Report furthermore outlines the effects of EU policy and legislation in the Member 3 Available from: under EMN Studies.

11 10 EMN STUDY SYNTHESIS States (Section 5), as well as the challenges and success factors (Section 6) experienced. Finally, concluding remarks (Section 7) on the use of visa policy as a migration channel are outlined. 1.1 Definition For the purposes of this Study, a Visa is the authorisation or decision of a Member State required for transit or entry for an intended stay in that Member State or in several Member States. 4 The nature of the visa is determined in accordance with the following definitions: (i) long stay visa means the authorisation or decision of a Member State required for entry for an intended stay in that Member State of more than three months; (ii) short stay visa means the authorisation or decision of a Member State required for entry for transit through or an intended stay in that State or in several Member States for a period whose total duration does not exceed three months in a six month period. Within the EU, visas are currently granted by Schengen Member States 5 under the following categories: Type A: Airport Transit visas; Type C: Short stay visas (for envisaged stays of not more than three months in any six month period); Type D: Long stay visas (so called National Visas for envisaged stays of more than three months in a twelve month period). In Bulgaria, Ireland and the United Kingdom, national visas referred to in this Synthesis Report cover both short stay and long stay visas. 6 For the purposes of this Study, in order to ensure consistency, when reference is made to short stay visas under the Schengen acquis, the term Schengen type C visa will be used. The term national type D visa will be used when describing visas issued by both Schengen Member States and non Schengen Member States for the purpose of a long term stay. 7 4 Definition of Visa from EMN Glossary 5 This covers all the Member States participating in this Study, except United Kingdom, Ireland and Bulgaria. 6 In accordance with Council Decision 2000/365/EC of 29 May 2000 and Council Decision 2002/192/EC of 28 February 2002, the United Kingdom and Ireland cooperate in some aspects of Schengen, namely police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters though are not bound by the entire Schengen Acquis. Therefore, in both Ireland and the United Kingdom, national legislation regulates all visas, both short and long stay, for the purposes of entry into these two Member States. Moreover, regarding Bulgaria and Romania, a transitional Decision 582/2008/EC of 17 June 2008 was adopted which permitted these Member States to recognise, for the purposes of transit, Schengen documents as well as documents issued by each other. Similarly to Bulgaria and Romania, Cyprus also remains bound by a limited set of EU visa measures referred to in the 2003 accession treaty though are allowed to also recognise as equivalent to their national visas, for the purpose of transit, Schengen visas, long stay visas and residence permits issued by Member States applying the Schengen rules. 7 Short stay national type C visas, issued by non Schengen States, are not a focus of this study.

12 VISA POLICY AS MIGRATION CHANNEL Methodology The National Reports are based on common Study Specifications, 8 developed by the EMN and followed by all EMN NCPs to ensure, to the extent possible, comparability and facilitate the preparation of the Synthesis Report. The EMN does not normally engage in primary research, but rather collects, gathers and evaluates data and information which are already available. In accordance with this usual practice, the National Reports of the Member States were based on desk analysis of existing legislation, reports, literature reviews and statistics available from National State Authorities (Ministry Departments and the Central Statistics Offices and Registers), Ad Hoc Queries, academia, newspapers, articles and websites. However, in comparison with previous EMN Studies, there was a significant lack of existing material on this topic, with some existing studies only discussing limited aspects of visa policy in the Member States, such as in Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and Malta. This lack of information caused difficulties in drafting National Reports, with Member States having to do more primary research than usual. Many Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom) therefore conducted expert interviews with State Authorities and academic experts. All Member States were able to provide data, to some extent, on visas issued to third country nationals. Some Member States (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, 9 Malta, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden) did, however, encounter problems in finding statistics for the study due to data collection being fragmented in their Member State and some Member States collecting few statistics on national type D visas. 1.3 EU Visa Policy and Legislation The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) 10 makes a distinction between short stay and long stay for third country nationals, covering short stays in the Schengen acquis in Article 77(2) and long stays as part of a Common Immigration Policy in Article 79(2). Both short and long stay visa policies are thus seen as essential tools to be used by Member States balancing the need for effective and efficient access to the EU, as well as the need to guarantee security. With regard to long stay (Type D) visas, these are issued to third country nationals in accordance with national legislation. Third country nationals, wanting to stay longer than three months in one or more Member States, need to either obtain a national long stay visa or a residence permit from the Member State to which they wish to move. Under the Schengen acquis, D visas and residence permits 8 Available from: under EMN Studies 9 In Luxembourg, national type D visas are authorised by the Directorate of Immigration, while type C visas are issued by the Passport and Visa Department. The only information obtained was for 2010 though national type D visas were not specified by type. 10 And previous Treaties from the Maastricht Treaty onwards.

13 12 EMN STUDY SYNTHESIS also enable the title holder to stay in another Schengen state for three months in a six month period. Article 79(2)(a) of the TFEU provides that measures shall be adopted in the area of the conditions of entry and residence, and standards on the issue by Member States of long stay visas and residence permits, including those for the purpose of family reunification. 11 Regulation (EU) 265/2010 amending the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement and Regulation (EC) No 562/ was adopted with a view to establishing rules on the freedom of movement with a long stay visa. The Regulation provides, in Article 21, that third country nationals who hold a valid long stay visa issued by one of the Member States may, on the basis of that visa, move freely for up to three months in a six month period within the territories of the other Member States, provided that they fulfil the necessary entry conditions. This Regulation therefore facilitates the free movement of third country nationals within the EU when entering with a national type D visa. In addition to the provisions of the TFEU, the Commission s Communication on the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM), published in 2011, highlighted the link between mobility and visa policy, with visa policy considered to be an influential instrument for a forward looking policy on mobility. Moreover, the Commission also outlined the importance of visa policy in relation to preventing irregular migration and fostering effective return policy. The GAMM outlined the importance of fully assessing the existing and possible future visa dialogues launched by the EU in order to ensure that before visa obligations are facilitated or lifted, a number of specific benchmarks are fulfilled by the partner countries A number of legislative instruments, as part of the migration acquis, are of relevance due to the provisions relating to the issuance of residence permits. These include Council Directive 2009/50/EC on the conditions of entry and residence of third country nationals for the purpose of highly qualified employment, Directive 2005/71/EC on a specific procedure for admitting third country nationals for the purposes of scientific research, Directive 2004/114/EC on the conditions of admission of third country nationals for the purposes of studies, pupil exchange, unremunerated training or voluntary service and Directive 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification. 12 Available at lex.europa.eu/lexuriserv/lexuriserv.do?uri=oj:l:2010:085:0001:0004:en:pdf 13 For further information see SEC(2011) 1353 final Commission Staff Working Paper Migration and Development accompanying the Commission s Communication on the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility, available at affairs/news/intro/docs/2_en_autre_document_ travail_service_part1_v3.pdf

14 VISA POLICY AS MIGRATION CHANNEL Visa Policy and Practices Facilitating Legal Migration This Section provides an overview of the visa policy and practices facilitating legal migration in the Member States. Section 2.1 firstly sets out a statistical overview relating to the issuance of national type D visas in the Member States. Section 2.2 then presents the different national visa policies and practices focusing on legal migration. The policy and practices related to the issuing of national type D visas constitute, in all Member States, a first and essential element of migration management overall. In the vast majority of Member States, national type D visas form an important part of the admission and immigration process, with a view to long term stay. They are either a prerequisite for a subsequent residence or other permit to stay, or are considered a residence title themselves, depending on the visa legislation in a Member State, as well as provisions in EU legislation, as further detailed in Section 2.2 below. Some Member States have developed a clear and coherent vision around the type of legal migration they wish to promote, the resulting visa issuing practice followed and the type of visa issued. The prevention of irregular migration is less explicit in national visa policies than it is in practical measures taken by the Member States, especially in the application stage and upon entry in the EU, but is an integral part of visa policy. 2.1 Issuance of visa applications: A Statistical Overview The number of national type D visas issued by Member States has increased from around 2.68 million in 2008 to around 2.88 million in Figure 1 provides an overview of national type D visas issued in some Member States between 2008 and The overall increase in the number of visas issued can be attributed mainly to increases in those Member States (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, United Kingdom) issuing the largest number of visas. Between 2008 and 2010, the United Kingdom issued the greatest number of national type D visas, with an increase of 10% between 2008 (around 1.9 million) and 2010 (around 2.1 million). 14 France also experienced an increase of 7% from 2008 (around ) to 2010 (around ). 14 The United Kingdom can separately identify visas issued for transit (Type A). However, all other visas issued are placed with Type D (i.e. longer than six months) in the statistical tables included in the report. Therefore, it is expected that the United Kingdom figures for visas of type D would be higher than in other Member States.

15 14 EMN STUDY SYNTHESIS Figure 1 ~ National type D visas issued, (in 1000s) ,8 0,6 0,7 0,7 0,4 0,3 UK IT PL FR DE NL BE AT IE BG HU MT LV LT SK SE EE Break at Source: EMN Statistical Tables In Germany, though the number of these visas increased slightly by almost 3% between 2008 (around ) and 2010 (around ), this followed a period where the number of national type D visas decreased by almost 66% between 2001 (around ) to 2007 (around ). Some Member States (Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Slovak Republic) experienced a decrease in the number of national type D visas issued. For example, in Lithuania, the number significantly decreased by 62% between 2008 (around 6 700) and 2010 (around 2 500). Moreover, in Italy, a decrease of almost 32% was experienced from around (2008) to around (2010). Concerning the share of national type D visas issued in 2010, as a total of all visas issued (i.e. including also short stay visas) this ranged significantly from one Member State to another. In Poland, over a fifth of all visas issued were national type D visas in 2010, and in Italy they represented nearly a sixth. In Ireland, Malta and Belgium, the number of type D visas issued represented more than a tenth of the total. In some Member States, however, (Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Latvia, Lithuania), national type D visas represented less than 5% of the total number of visas issued, and in Luxembourg, in 2010, 224 national type D visas were issued, which, in addition to the 105 D+C visas issued, represented approximately 4% of the total number of visas issued. 15 In Sweden and Estonia, these visas represented less than 0.5% of the total visas issued. This portion is directly related to the Member States national vision and policy relating to national type D visas, as described below It is important to note that the statistics for national type D visas was not available for the last 10 years at the moment that the study was finalised and it is important to take into consideration that on 29 August 2008 the Law on free movement of persons and immigration came into force so the criteria for granting D visas changed with the new categories of authorisation to stay. 16 An exception to this is practice in the United Kingdom where only national type D visas are issued. In the United Kingdom, 99% of all visas issues were national type D visas.

16 VISA POLICY AS MIGRATION CHANNEL 15 In relation to the number of national type D visas applied for, issued and refused in some Member States in 2009, Figure 2 demonstrates the number of visa applications rejected in the Member States. In the United Kingdom, of the approximately 2.4 million applications in 2009, almost 1.97 million were issued, with around (17.6%) of the total applications refused. Similarly, in Germany, 16.2% of visa applications were refused in In France, of the approximately visa applications, 12.5% (23 353) were refused. Smaller proportions of visa applications were refused in other Member States, such as Poland and the Slovak Republic. In Poland, of the approximately visa applications, almost visas were issued, with only around 2% refused, and in the Slovak Republic, 0.4% of the overall visa applications were refused. The small percentage of refusals is influenced by national policy in these countries, which aims to attract migrants by the issuance of national type D visas. Figure 2 Applications, Issued and Refused national D visas (in 1 000s), ,0 250, , , ,0 50, , ,3 0,1 2,2 2,1 0,04 1,9 2,0 0,01 UK PL FR DE NL BE IE HU LT LV SK Applied Issued Rejected Source: EMN Statistical Tables Member States issue visas for a number of different admission purposes. Figure 3 presents the portion of national type D visas issued by reason between 2008 and National type D visas issued for the purpose of education represented the largest proportion of visas in the United Kingdom, with the proportion ranging from 47% (2008) to 56% (2010). In Hungary and Ireland, visas issued for education purposes amounted to over a third of all type D visas issued in In Belgium, approximately a quarter of all type D visas issued were for education purposes between 2008 (24%) and 2010 (27%). In contrast, some Member States issued small numbers of these visas for education purposes. For example, in Poland, only 5% of all type D visas issued were for education reasons in 2010, with only 2% issued for this purpose in Sweden.

17 16 EMN STUDY SYNTHESIS Figure 3 National D visas issued by purpose, % % 41 60% 40% 20% 0% BE DE HU IE* IT NL LT PL SE UK Educa on Employment Family Other reasons: Total Source: EMN Statistical Tables *All breakdowns of total visas issued by Ireland into C and D categories are estimates. With regard to employment, this category represented a large portion of national type D visas issued in Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and United Kingdom. In Poland, 71% of all visas issued in 2008 were for employment purposes, with the proportion decreasing to 54% in In Belgium and Sweden, the highest portion of national type D visas issued was for family reasons between 2008 and In Belgium, over half of such visas were issued to family members, while in Sweden, this category received more than three quarters (76%) of the type D visas issued in In Italy, in some years, visas for employment prevailed whereas other times those for family reasons represented the largest portion; in 2010 the relative proportions were 31.6% and 41.8% respectively. Some Member States issued national type D visas for other reasons during 2008 and 2010, which are described further in Section 2.2 below. Figure 4 provides an overview of the first permits 17 issued at EU level by total and reason between 2008 and Of the approximately 2.9 million national 17 As defined by Eurostat, a first permit is a residence permit issued to a person for the first time. A residence permit is considered as a first permit also if the time gap between expiry of the old permit and the start of the validity of the new permit issued for the same reason is at least six months, irrespective of the year of issuance of the permit. Further information available at: eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ity_sdds/en/migr_res_esms.htm

18 VISA POLICY AS MIGRATION CHANNEL 17 type D visas issued in 2010, it can be assumed that a portion of these visas was replaced by residence permits. 18 The number of permits issued decreased between 2008 and 2009 from around 2.5 million (2008) to around 2.3 million (2009). The number increased however to almost 2.47 million in The largest portion of permits was issued for remunerated activities in these three years, with 32% of the first permits in 2010 issued for this reason. The number of first permits issued for family reasons increased between 2008 and 2010, with the portion increasing from 27% to 30% of the total number of first permits issued. An increase was also noted in the number of residence permits issued for education reasons from 18% (2008) to 21% (2010). Figure 4 First permits, EU level, total and by reason (share of total), % 23% 17% % 28% % 31% 28% 32% % 21% 21% Total By reason Total By reason Total By reason Total Educa on Employment Family Other reasons Source: Eurostat. ( 19 ) 2.2 Visa policy and practice National visa policy and practice form an integral element of the approach to managing legal migration of most Member States. Most Member States have a national visa policy in place, many of which are placing focus on different types of migration, as well as on different aspects of the admission and immigration processes. Most Member States also consider the management of first access to the national territory as the main function of visas. For example, Belgium considers national type D visas as a broader tool for managing migration, but also to ensure national security. The United Kingdom use national type D visas flexibly to manage different types of immigration. In Ireland, a national visa is seen as a 18 Though it can be assumed that a portion of national visas are transferred into residence permits, in accordance with national immigration policy, it must also be taken into account that a visa issued in one year may only be transferred into a residence permit in the following year. 19 Data for Luxembourg included for the year 2010 only

19 18 EMN STUDY SYNTHESIS form of pre entry clearance to travel to a point of entry in the Member State. In the Netherlands, the connection between visa policy and migration is evident in relation to the policy relating to the Regulation Provisional Residence Permit (MVV). As the MVV is a condition which must be satisfied in order for entry to be granted, the MVV policy is considered as the instrument for migration management. The national vision and policy relating to national type D visas in some Member States has significantly changed over time. Factors such as emigration of nationals to third countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland), economic development (Belgium), foreign policy (Germany), historical and ethnic ties (Hungary), joining the Schengen zone (e.g. Lithuania) and accession to the European Union (United Kingdom) have played a role in developing Member States visions towards visas. For example, in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Poland, visa policy aims to manage neighbourhood policy in order to facilitate migration and travel with neighbouring countries. In Belgium, national emphasis was previously placed on securing public order and managing irregular migration flows. However, the last few years have triggered a favourable approach towards migration for economic purposes, with a more targeted national policy for attracting migrants to stimulate the economy. National visa policy is thus used to promote migration. Italy has strengthened the diplomatic consular network in those countries where many migrants come from. With regard to types of migration linked to visas, in Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg and United Kingdom, national visa policy is greatly focused on facilitating the entry and admission of migrants for the purpose of work, in Ireland for study, and in the United Kingdom for study and family reasons. For example, in Italy, in connection with the amendment of the quota related legislation, national type D visas are used as a tool to remove some of the difficulties met by highly qualified third country nationals applying for entry visas for the purpose of employment and self employment. In the United Kingdom, visas for work and study are issued through the Points Based System, in order to select those migrants with the most relevant profile to the territory. In Lithuania, national visa policy aims to meet economic and labour market needs by facilitating the arrival of workers. A few Member States (Bulgaria, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands) place specific focus on attracting highly skilled workers. In Bulgaria, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania and France, national visa policy places a particular focus on third country nationals entering for study reasons. For example, in Ireland, visa policy aims to facilitate entry to such migrants, particularly students, who can make a valuable economic or cultural contribution. In addition to visa policies placing specific focus on certain categories of migrants, some Member States policies (Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Finland, Lithuania, Poland) focus on certain third countries. Focus is placed on third countries with specific geographic and historical links, such as the Russian Federation (Hungary, Finland, Lithuania, Poland). Focus is also placed on third countries which have a specific diaspora link to the Member State, such as Moldova (Bulgaria, Lithuania), Armenia (Bulgaria), Belarus (Poland, Lithuania) and Ukraine (Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland). For example, in Poland, diaspora populations living in neighbouring non EU countries are offered the possibility of receiving national type D visas. Italy places emphasis on the issuance of visas to countries belonging to the Mediterranean area and the Balkans. This is the case,

20 VISA POLICY AS MIGRATION CHANNEL 19 for example, in relation to the Moroccan community which has shown a tendency for settlement in Italy. Ireland focuses on several third countries, including China due to the large number of international students from China choosing to study in Ireland. Member States also place focus on specific categories of third country nationals. Belgium, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, 20 Poland, for example, have national type D visas at their disposal for humanitarian reasons. 21 In France, Italy and Latvia, these visas can be issued in emergency situations, such as during the Haiti earthquake (France). In Italy, national type D visas were issued on the occasion of the recent North African flow of migration following the Arab Spring. Some Member States issue visas for other purposes, which are linked in some instance to historical or ethnic ties. For example, in Bulgaria, national type D visas are issued to facilitate the return of persons of Bulgarian nationality or origin, including persons of Bulgarian origin born in the Member State who have lost their citizenship by emigration and want to settle permanently in Bulgaria. Hungary also places specific focus on maintaining relationships with their diaspora. In other Member States, national visas are also issued for various other reasons including medical treatment (Ireland) and religious volunteers (Ireland). A number of changes have occurred over recent years to visa policy and legislation relating to national type D visas in Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Slovak Republic, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Austria, Belgium and Greece adopted changes to facilitate the entry of economic migrants. In Austria, the latest amendments to the Alien s Law affected national type D visas. Since July 2011, highly skilled third country national workers have the opportunity to obtain a national type D visa for the purpose of seeking a job there. In Belgium, a special service was founded within the Immigration Service in 2008 to promote economic migration, speeding up national visa procedures. In Greece, a new law was adopted in 2011 providing seasonal workers and fishermen, under fast procedures, the right to enter the Member State and to access the labour market when holding a national type D visa of no more than six months (seasonal visa) or ten months (fisherman visa) respectively. For Estonia, the 2010 Aliens Act removed the limit on the number of national type D visas which can be issued, to promote cooperation, business and trade. Ireland has worked to streamline visa regimes for identified groups of students with a view to attracting them. For example, a pilot trusted agent scheme has been undertaken with Indian educational institutions in order to accord priority to student visa applications. In relation to new short stay visas, a waiver programme, in the framework of the Common Travel Area, was introduced in Ireland in 2011 for holders of certain UK visas, allowing some nationalities to travel to Ireland without having to request an Irish visa, in order to promote tourism from emerging markets. 20 In Luxembourg, this category was specified in the Law of 1 st July 2011, which modified the law of 29 th August Further information on Member State humanitarian practices is available in the EMN s Study on The different national practices concerning granting of non EU harmonised protection statuses, available under EMN Studies at

21 20 EMN STUDY SYNTHESIS France, Italy and Slovak Republic introduced new national type D visas in recent years. For example, in France, the long stay VLS TS visa was introduced in 2009, exempting its holders from requiring a residence permit. This aimed to facilitate the arrival of workers, students, family of French nationals and visitors. In the Slovak Republic, new purposes for issuing a national type D visa were added to the Act of Stay of Aliens in 2008, relating to visas being issues rather than a residence permit. Moreover, in 2011, it was decided that national type D visas would be granted to family members of beneficiaries of international protection, with this entering into force in In Italy, the Inter ministerial Decree of 11 th May 2011 simplified the type of visas requested for family reasons, merging two existing visas into a new national type D visa for family reasons and abolishing the visa for integration into the labour market. The United Kingdom recently implemented a number of visa policy changes to meet the Government s aims to reduce net migration, whilst still attracting the brightest and best migrants to meet the needs of the UK economy, and to reduce abuse of migration routes. Changes included the introduction of a limit on non EEA migrants coming to the UK for work purposes, amendments to the UK Shortage Occupation List for skilled labour migration, tightening of the student and family routes and further facilitating migration of those of high value and low risk to the UK. 2.3 Grouping of policy and practice Overall, when looking at national visa policies and practices in place, four groups of Member States could be broadly identified as detailed below. 22 The practices associated with these groups are described in Table 1 overleaf. In a number of Member States, a number of different practices are used. Their primary practices are therefore presented by a, with secondary visa practice (s) represented by an X. Member States primary practices are considered to be those which are used most often in the Member States, with secondary practices reflecting the additional practices used in some Member States for certain admission purposes. Group A: Member States in which national visa policy and practices fully reflect their overall migration policy. In these Member States, the national type D visa issued is nearly always a residence title in itself (referred to as practice A), thus constituting both a permit to enter the Member State as well as the permission take up residence in the Member State linked to a specific purpose, without requiring any additional permit (Table 2); Group B: Member States which use national visa policy to facilitate legal migration, but with varying visa issuing procedures, depending on the type of migration. In these Member States, the visa is usually a prerequisite for obtaining a residence permit, which has to be applied for either in the country of origin (referred to as practice B.1), or upon arrival in the Member State (referred to as practice B.2). Visas are primarily issued to travel to the Member State and are considered as a permit to travel and 22 Member States were broadly classified into three main groups, though, due to the complex and different practices, a Member State practice may also fall under another group (s).

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